Old School trucks: Southern Transport—Part 1

By: Dean Middleton, Photography by: Dean Middleton

Southern Transport A beautifully restored International Acco taking part in the 2016 Invercargill Truck Parade on a day pass out of the Bill Richardson Transport World Museum Southern Transport
Southern Transport 2 An equally stunningly restored 1418 Mercedes-Benz, which also came out of the Museum for the 2013 Truck Parade Southern Transport 2
Southern Transport 3 A restored version of many of this model Mack purchased new in the mid-70s Southern Transport 3
Southern Transport 4 Dozens more R-Macks joined the fleet during the ’80s Southern Transport 4
Southern Transport 5 Tregenza had a Mack-dominated fleet during the Southern Transport involvement Southern Transport 5
Southern Transport 6 This very cool International Eagle was inherited when Southern acquired Empire Forwarding Southern Transport 6
Southern Transport 7 There were no Macks stauncher than the Mack Superliners Southern Transport 7
Southern Transport 8 The legendary 1000th assembled Mack in New Zealand lined up beside a brand spanking new CH model back in 1994 Southern Transport 8
Southern Transport 9 Japanese trucks were no stranger to the green and gold fleet back in the ’90s Southern Transport 9
Southern Transport 10 An F12 Volvo on logging duties Southern Transport 10
Southern Transport 11 Ford Louisvilles become popular in the fleet during the ’90s Southern Transport 11
Southern Transport 12 The earlier model Louisvilles were replaced by these later models Southern Transport 12
Southern Transport 13 Ford Louisvilles then became North American sourced Sterlings Southern Transport 13
Southern Transport 14 One of my personal favourites is this T950 Kenworth pictured brand-new in late 1994 Southern Transport 14
Southern Transport 15 The T950 after a refurbishment in 2007 Southern Transport 15
Southern Transport 16 The T950 in 2010 looking stunning after a complete restoration and has since resided in the museum Southern Transport 16
Southern Transport 17 The early ’90s saw an influx of CH model Macks on all applications Southern Transport 17
Southern Transport 18 Cabover Macks were not as common in the Southern fleet; this Ultra Liner joined the logging division in 1998 Southern Transport 18
Southern Transport 19 One of four E-series ERFs put on the road in 2000 that also joined the logging division Southern Transport 19

Southern Transport can trace their roots back to 1946 when HG Richardson purchased the two trucks then owned by Niagara Sawmilling

The HWR story is a legendary one and few would argue that the late Bill Richardson, who was at the helm for many decades, will be a New Zealand Transport Legend for generations to come.

We will look at a few more HWR companies in future issues, but for the next couple of months, we will focus on some of the best of the Southern Transport fleet over the previous few decades until today.

It was the late ’80s before I managed to start photographing Southern Transport trucks in the flesh and they instantly struck me as a classic looking livery. The livery was not over the top, had clean lines, and the green and gold just seemed to complement the trucks. As a Mack-dominated company, I thought every model of Mack looked great in their colours.

Macks didn’t just dominate their fleet, as Southern Transport bought into G E Tregenza in 1980 and while the Tregenza name was maintained, Southern Transport certainly brought the Mack influence to the fleet before it was sold in 1996.

There have been many standout trucks in the Southern fleet and although the aforementioned Macks have always dominated, there were other iconic brands.

Local company Empire Forwarding was purchased in 1993 and with it, they inherited a very cool International Eagle. However, unfortunately, it never wore the Southern Transport colours.

One of my all-time favourites in the fleet actually wore a Kenworth badge. I managed to photograph the lone (at the time) Kenworth in the fleet when it was brand-new back in 1994 and the T950 certainly stood out among the fleet in the Invercargill depot at the time.

I photographed it again in 2007 after it received a refurbishment, but the highlight was photographing it once again in 2010, right after a full restoration (with a few shiny bits added).

The big T950 was then retired and has since spent its days in the now world-famous Bill Richardson World Transport Museum.

The museum has been a godsend for Southern Transport fans, as many trucks have been restored in the green and gold colours, which often come out from undercover to join in with the yearly Invercargill truck show and parade ensuring the classic fleet is preserved in history.

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